French is taught to all pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 with pupils receiving four hours of French per fortnight in Year 8 and three hours per fortnight in Years 7 and 9. In Year 7, all classes are mixed ability and the major emphasis is on the active skill of oracy as well as the passive skill of reading. Writing and grammar become more important in Years 8 and 9, although it is introduced in a fun way in Year 7.
The target language, French, is used in all lessons and setting occurs at the very end of Year 7. The setting is based on end of year examination results plus continuous assessment during the course. Setting is flexible with regular departmental reviews resulting in appropriate movement between sets for certain pupils. We use a range of teaching resources, including the ‘Metro’ textbook and pupil booklets, which are well thought out, amusing and instructive. The textbooks we use are enjoyed by pupils and staff alike and they are further supplemented by resources created by members of the department. Pupils receive frequent homework and are formally assessed at the end of every topic.
We try to make the learning of French as enjoyable as possible. We incorporate fun activities into the lessons such as singing French songs, playing language games, watching extracts of French films and using iPads and the interactive whiteboard. We encourage pupils to use ICT in French. We subscribe to French websites with free apps which the pupils can access both in school and at home and we are constantly increasing our e-mail links with other pupils in France. Moreover, we promote reading for pleasure and independent learning. Our aim is to help the young people of today to become global citizens who value their own culture and that of their neighbours and we aim to give them a viable means of communication. Learning one European community language thoroughly will enable them to learn further languages later on. Not only does the course in Years 7, 8 and 9 thoroughly prepare pupils in the skills which they will need for GCSE but it is meant to instil an interest in language learning which will hopefully continue with them throughout life.